Santa Maria to Madeira Day 5

Friday 5/3

Dena’s 1400-1500 watch

Started off the new sailing period with a pbnj sandwich, baked beans, and a nap. Totally satisfying.

When I went above to check things out at the beginning of this watch, LoveBot was struggling a bit. I also realized that we were too far upwind to stay on track. A bit more staysail, tracking over the main a little, and we are going strong.

Maybe a little too strong? It’s a fast tack, that’s for sure. Closer to a beam reach than a close reach, so we’re getting even more spray into the cockpit. 

The kicker is that my waterproof pants gave out all the way across a thigh seam. I mean, halfway around the entire leg. I’m not pleased. A wet cockpit and no waterproof pants means I’m about to cycle through every pair I own, drying the wet ones while wearing the driest.

I sincerely hope we get less wave action soon, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Dena’s 2000-2100 watch

sunset with a single reef

Since noon, our average speed has been 4.1 knots. For us, in these conditions, that’s pretty fast. It’s also unusual for people to plan passages on average speeds that low. We’re a different kind of sailor, but not without our role models. Not long ago, Annie Hill wrote a blog post about slow travel, a clever reference to slow food. Pretty much every one of Shirley’s posts on Speedwell of Hong Kong fits the bill.

The wind is abating but I don’t expect it to get actually gentle until Sunday. If we could maintain this speed, we’d be hook down off Madeira Sunday afternoon. I think Monday is more likely.

Saturday 5/4

Dena’s 2400-0300 watch

Hello broad reaching, my old friend.

James decided to move the wind abaft the beam at 2200. I felt the change in the boat’s motion…it brought me half-awake but I went back to sleep as soon as I identified what had woken me.

Now I’ve done my start-of-watch due diligence (familiarized myself with course, sail trim, LoveBot status, vessels nearby, and power status), I can really relax.

We’re doing 3-6 knots like ya do when the waves are helping rather than hindering. Don’t get me wrong, Cetacea was mounting those close reach waves like her namesake creatures. It’s just easier when we’re not fighting the forces of nature.

Dena’s 0600-0900 watch

I woke up from a dream that I’d been commissioned to write about the ”old cars with new powers” trope in movies for some publication. I was really irritated by the assignment, in the dream.


Then I got up and got dressed and Beluga Greyfinger did something he learned not to do as a kitten. He attacked James’ face. A lunge and run away kind of attack, but with claws out and James got scratched enough to bleed.

Beluga has been so still for this trip that I want to attribute it to excess energy, but that doesn’t make it better. He had finished his food about 10 minutes prior, but still not okay. He’s never done that before and I hope he never does that again.

After all the excitement, James went to sleep in the forepeak and I started my watch in earnest. We’re still making excellent time, and I was able to roll out the staysail. Now we’re on a reach just a tad behind the beam with both headsails and a single reef in the main. I imagine we’ll shake that reef sometime today.

A perfect broad reach

The sun rose behind the only rainshower in the sky, so not the most showy version of a sunrise. Oh well, looks like it will be a beautiful day.

Noon position: N 34° 03.178’ W 018° 46.778’
Distance noon to noon: 103.7 NM
Average speed: 4.33 kn
Trip distance covered: 377.2 NM
Distance to destination: 134 NM


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